People want long-term security when they accept a job, with the hopes of permanent employment or being able to leave on their terms. But, when an employer decides to part ways with you, it can be devastating.

In addition to the immediate setbacks, there’s also the issue of discussing the dismissal in future job interviews. While everyone understand that good workers get fired sometimes, the prospect of having to talk about being fired can raise feelings of insecurity.

As with most situations involving stress and insecurity, preparation is key. If you are well-prepared to tackle your termination from a previous job, you be able to walk into future interviews with confidence. First and foremost, you should plan on not blaming or trash talking your past employer. Being graceful and poised will score you point here, even if you still hold a lot of bitterness over the situation.

Consider the following termination situations and how to handle each one.

Getting laid off due to downsizing

Getting “laid off” is often due to factors outside your control as business cycles often dictate the workforce needs of a company. Lay-offs are an unfortunate reality, and most hiring personnel will be sensitive to that fact.

Offer a clear explanation and avoid getting overly emotional or placing blame. Instead, talk about what you’ve learned prior to be laid off and how you can apply that knowledge effectively.

Getting fired for bad performance

If you’ve been fired, it’s important to remember your own value. Don’t think too long and hard about the negatives. Focus on the idea that you still have a lot to offer and any business would be lucky to retain your services. Think of your termination as a fresh start, as opposed to something that’s pulling you down.

When an interviewer asks why you were let go, keep your response short, positive and to the point. If you don’t say anything of note, they will probably just move on. If you start going into too many details, you can fall into the trap of negativity and defensiveness.

It’s also important to be self-aware in this situation and express how things would be different if you were hired. For instance, you could say that you now realize that company didn’t suit you, and you’re actually a better fit for this position.

At HCR, we regularly help people move on from unfortunate job situations. Please contact us today to find out how we can help you move your career forward.


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